Dr Rekha Shetty, who consults several corporations on long-term innovation initiatives, draws up a list.
1. They invest in a great cause and have the patience to see it through
When you think of it, every successful person invests in a cause larger than her/his own -- be it Mahatma Gandhi or Kris Gopalakrishnan of Infosys.
Gandhi, of course, invested in the cause of India's freedom (when he could have easily been a lawyer and not bothered to return to his homeland).
Kris Gopalakrishnan, along with the other co-founders of Infosys, started the company by deciding that it would be the benchmark and not follow the ones set by others.
A lot of young people want things instantly.
They start learning the violin and want to play at a concert in a year's time.
It doesn't work that way.
Nothing about success is instant.
It is like planting a seed, nurturing it and… for the longest time… waiting for it to grow into a mighty oak.
Being patient especially at a time in the growth when nothing is happening is crucial!
As Verghese Kurien of Amul once said -- unless you are willing to invest 25 years of your life, you cannot build anything that can survive through ages.
2. They proactively invest in change and lead innovation
Most people are unwilling victims sacrificed on the altar of change.
Very few of us voluntarily accept change. We do so because someone is pushing and kicking us to embrace it.
People accept change because they have no choice and often we are fighting it.
Successful people, however, are those who have the vision to create change.
These are people who throw a stone in a calm pond and watch the ripples.
People who look into what is not there but can be…
People follow because they have total belief…
These are people who lead innovation.
They are not slaves of habit and prisoners of innovation.
3. They focus on what is really important but also relax and enjoy the present moment
Successful people find time to include everything they love within their working life.
They choose a job which they love and ensure they balance their work and life well.
You will never hear a successful person say that s/he has a healthy balance sheet but an unhealthy life.
Successful people enjoy everything while working hard.
Dr Prathap C Reddy, the founder of Apollo Group of Hospitals, doesn't just manage to run his business but also find time to pursue his hobbies, travel and spend time with friends.
4. They get rid of clutter and abolish everything that does not add value
Successful people learn to say no early in their career.
They manage to keep their life free of clutter.
Go around your office and home and discard everything that is not needed.
Clutter-free space helps you think better.
But it isn't just the physical space I am talking about. Get rid of everything and everyone that doesn't add value to your life.
5. They believe that anything and anyone can be transformed
Transformation is what happens to a drop of water touched by sunlight -- it becomes a rainbow.
What happens to a seed when it is touched by the magic of earth and sky -- it becomes a mighty tree bringing forth millions of seeds!
The magic is what happens to a person when s/he is touched by inspiration.
Great leaders believe that anyone can be transformed by the touch of an inspiring vision.
Gandhi transformed ordinary people into warriors by the magnetic vision of freedom.
Sri Krishna sweets touched ordinary cooks by the inspiration of being the best sweetmakers in the world.
Uday Kotak transformed his people by making them dream of global excellence.
CK Balsee, CMD, Royal Orchid Hotels, ignited the imagination of his people to provide five-star service with three star investments.
6. They build castles in the air and put foundation under them
Successful people realise that imagination is the greatest asset of any person.
And they know that there is nothing wrong in building castles in the air.
As the American author Henry David Thoreau says of castles in the air: "They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them."
And that is exactly what successful people do.
To turn a creative idea into actuality, they work hard, work smart and make it happen.
Dr Rekha Shetty, Ph.D, founder of the Mindspower brand, is the managing director of Farstar Distribution Network Ltd, a 20-year-old consulting company working exclusively on innovation initiatives.
She consults for some of the foremost blue chip companies.
Keenly involved in social action, she is one of the first women Rotary International governors in Asia and a recipient of the Service above Self Award.
Apart from the bestselling Innovate! and The Happiness Quotient, her other books include The Way to a Healthy Heart: The Zero Heart Attack Path and Corporate Strategy: Mindspower Innovation.
Photograph: Dominic Ebenbichler/Reuters
Lead image used here for representational purposes only.